Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Beggar's Truth

The busker, street performer for those who are unfamiliar with the word, are providing a public service. Many even pay rent for their performance spaces or belong to organizations that setup a system for where and when they perform. Often park services will invite them to entertain those enjoying the park, in many inner city parks it's actually the only reason some people go.

They do work off tips, sometimes product sales as well ranging from CDs to paintings. With the modern world they give out business card or flyers with their website addresses to purchase downloads. This is their job, and many enjoy it a lot. They are not "bums" and most have homes.

Their competition are the beggars, who provide nothing but expect people to give them money. The beggars will often make it difficult for the buskers in many ways, taking up space they could use and depleting the chances of garnering a tip when a passerby gives their cash to the beggar first.

Another huge, and often overlooked difference is that beggars are aggressive in most areas. Offer them what they claim the money is for and most often they turn it down. The reason is that many beggars are professionals, they beg for a living and often have homes, and food, even cars. It would not be bad if they were all honest and did not syphon money from those more deserving.

The buskers are almost always polite as well, while the desperate beggar can often be rude, even offensive. The beggar that actually is not wealthy is also typically one who is dishonest in how they spend the money, making beggars, as a whole, undeserving of your cash, save it for the buskers.

In Seattle, we have an alternative to the busker, they sell a newspaper that publishes stories written by homeless people, for one dollar you can learn more about the homeless in your area while you enjoy your coffee or lunch. The paper is called Real Change, and it is a very good program which allows people in need, usually unable to work in any other job, a way to pay rent and buy needs.

If you do want to help those in need and don't have buskers or paper sellers, donate directly to charities. There are many great charities in the developed countries, do some research and help out in a way that works.

So the next time you see a street performer and have some time or cash to spare, enjoy their work and offer a tip in return for their hard work. Please do be kind to them, I have known many in my life and they are great people just trying to get by with a skill they worked hard at. Thanks.

Visit my friend Eido's site for an example of a busker who works for the city at

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Become a Troll Slayer

For a person to be a troll slayer online, one must have some very uncommon traits and be in a situation in which the troll cannot find weakness. Of course, we are talking specifically about the nasty troll who wants to bully and abuse simply to elevate their own deflated ego.

The first requirement is no family. Those with their own children should not try to slay trolls, leave it to us who do not have such a target for them. The nasty troll will go after family, even very young children, in ways you cannot foresee or defend against. Protect your kids by not engaging the troll at all.

You must have a career that is immune to rumors. This one is often overlooked until it is too late. If your company is picky about your online life, you should change companies, and not engage a troll until you have done so. No matter how well you avoid the connection, the nasty troll will always find it and make your life worse.

Political ties are fuel for the troll. No matter your political ideology, you must be able to laugh about it. The nasty troll will use this as a weak point if you take your political views too seriously. If you hide your political views they will merely make it up anyway.

You must laugh at all your flaws, and also be willing to make some flaws up. Preempt their mockery by cracking jokes using topics most people would be insulted by. Cracking jokes about how fat your mother is often confuses the nasty troll, it steals their thunder. When they use an insult just use the smile and nod technique, adding in a humorous bit to your reply will destroy their insult completely. Your skin must be made of steel.

Patience is important, remember, the nasty troll is persistent. It may go on for days, but while they are distracted with you they will leave others alone, and that is what makes you a troll slayer. Their brains are not complex or large enough to handle more than one target at a time. You include also incorporate some of your allies, which will make the nasty troll slip up a lot.

As you can see, being a troll slayer is more about the circumstances of your life than about skill. If everyone who can safely engage a troll does so in such a way, they will eventually go extinct, unable to get the reactions they want and always being drawn away from targets they can actually hurt will reduce the damage they do, and frustrate them to a point of exasperation.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Biggest Issues Are Our Smallest Problems

Seattle is one of the least green cities in the USA, in spite of claims made by our tourism industry. Today I want to take the time to explain this in depth, as well as warn tourists what not to expect when visiting this area.

Western Washington is very egocentric these days, people here think it's the best state in spite of some major, and often hidden, flaws. I spent most of my life in Western Washington, as I was growing up I saw a very different region. When we were on the piers we looked out over the Sound to watch the mountains, on clear days you could make out the tall trees.

Today, anything past the shoreline on the other side is shrouded in gray, details lost to the smog. What makes this matter worse is that the city governments continue to claim they are working to keep it all green. None of the policies are actually effective ones, as if they are only pandering for votes.

For example, in Seattle the solution to too much traffic became "let's build a tunnel so more traffic can pass through without having to see how ugly the city has become." I watch the vehicles pass by and most are SUVs or other large vehicles with only one person in them. Mass transit here is fading because Metro and Sound Transit are too greedy.

So our air quality suffers, so much that in less than a week my windowsill is covered in black soot from the cars alone. City and state officials still claim it's not that bad here, some even add insult to injury by claiming we are the most green state in the union.

Now, the nitty gritty stuff. Most businesses here still ban nonhuman animals from their stores based on the state's outdated health regulations. The homeless are often corralled into out if site locations and centers, but we still have a huge problem with people being unable to afford even closet sized apartments.

The cost of living in Western Washington is three time higher than our government reports to the federal government. Most of the homeless in Seattle work. You read that right, many have two jobs but still cannot afford a place to live, especially with the prices of food here and our severely defunded food stamp program ran by a bunch of corrupt and lazy morons who care as much about the people they're suppose to help as one does about dog shut stuck to the bottom of one's shoe.

Why did I revisit all this? Because it's a huge problem with a lot of cities and states in the USA, denial. Many city and state governments want tourism to make up for their bad budgets, but all that does is create a vicious cycle where the citizens wind up with a bigger deficit and the cost of living sky rockets.

By lying about the problems, most cities in the USA are creating a vacuum of poverty, sickness, and pollution. The solution must now come from the people, stop touring. It's that easy, if you want to tour, go to Europe, Canada, or Mexico. Force the local governments to acknowledge the problems they are hiding from, force them to consider actually improving commerce in these cities to build a sustainable economy.

In the USA, we have a tradition of only taking care of issues when they scream at us for attention, look how well that worked for Detroit.

Mocking Religion Is Important

The answer to why we must mock religion is one I have touched on but never really answered directly. The answer is very simple, any ideology elevated above mockery becomes a tyranny.

Though ideology must never be above mockery, nothing is ever truly above mockery. Ridicule is the exception, ideology which is demonstrably harmful should be ridiculed, but other aspects of life should be off limits. Rule of thumb here, if it cannot be chosen then it's off limits unless it is demonstrably harmful.

The reason harmful ideologies must be ridiculed is to make them no longer acceptable, thus making them no longer harmful. Religion, as a whole, has been demonstrably harmful and is chosen. Prayer being an excellent example of the harm it causes to society.

Prayer has nothing to do with helping and everything to do with ego. People who pray are saying they are happy not actually doing anything but want everyone to think they are, so they announce that they are praying for someone who is suffering to draw attention to themselves, distracting from the person who is truly suffering.

We see this effect in medical doctors as well, the ideology has been acceptable for so long even the atheist doctors are willing to say platitudes in place of actually helping the patient, Virginia Mason and Harborview in Seattle do this quite a lot. Often prayer is used in place of real help resulting in the death of an innocent person, while the ones praying are allowed to continue to draw attention to themselves instead of being punished for their crimes.

Another event this problem often arises is when it takes very little to help, like say retweeting something on Twitter. Instead of tapping the retweet like they should, they just have to say "my prayers are with them." This makes it all about them and distracts from the actual problem. Some tweeps have actually gotten angry when I would point out how selfish they are being for saying such things.

To protect society from this selfishness and complacency, we mock prayer and religion, and ridicule the stupidity religion forces it's followers to embrace. Once it is no longer acceptable to harm others, or allow injustices to happen, because of religion, we will stop ridiculing and move on.

Now, before you get angry with any atheist who ridicules your religious nonsense, know this, we were once as stupid as you, and when we stopped being willfully ignorant we were ridiculed for wanting to learn, often abused for not accepting your myths, and distrusted for being more honest than any religious person has ever been. If you think silly pictures of your myths with phrases that show the idiotic ideas you believe are hurtful, at least we don't usually mock individuals until they display their stupidity.

We aren't attacking you, we are just telling the truth now.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Christian Conflict in Gaza

So I am sitting here, pondering random things I spot on Twitter, as always. It dawns on me that the vast majority of people see what's really wrong with the world, yet only a small handful of us are really willing to actually say or try to do something about it, of those able to. A great example are the atheists forced to remain in the closet or they lose their jobs, and many times their lives.

Religious people have this strange habit of making us anti-theists correct, this being a prime example of such. Most religious people claim to know it's wrong to discriminate or force people to follow a religion they don't want to, but when push comes to shove they always fall silent or outright ignore it when such discriminations happen to someone not of their religion.

I have often been told by these people to just let them have their religion or to stop persecuting them, and when I mention those atheists in harm's way for not believing the mythology they simply ignore it. I have even seen many deny that it happens. Some of these people are from countries where secularism is the practiced law of the land, but even of those, only a few admit atheists are oppressed in most other countries.

I tried to figure this out, why they are so blind to the rest of the world, but all I can guess is that they are selfish. Recently many atheists across the globe worked in an organized manner to actually aid one of us in need, an atheist who was wrongfully admitted to a mental hospital by his own family. The best I saw from some religious people was "pray for him."

Well, prayer is a selfish act on it's own, it's pretending to do something so as to look like the hero while doing absolutely nothing. Most of the others, save the newscasters who milked the story for ratings, didn't even acknowledge he was being persecuted for being an atheist. The reason for this is particular response is to keep their ability to play the persecution card when we point out how silly their fairy tales are.

Enter the Gaza conflict. Here most atheists are very vocal, but not all on one side or the other. Like me, many just think both sides need to grow up, stop endangering innocent lives, and stop fighting. Others side with Israel, and others with Palestine. But we are all vocal, and many trying to do something to help the civilians over there as much as they can.

The difference is that even though an atheist knows how silly the religious nonsense is, we still place value on the loves of those who believe it. But in the reverse, Muslim, christian, even pagans will try to ignore the persecution as much as possible. As for the Gaza events, christians have a vested interest in picking sides, and only a few take the side of Palestine, fewer take the more logical central position.

The reason is the same one that caused the escalation in the first place, a prophecy in their book of fairy tales. Israel would have remained small had the religious nuts of the christians not been so keen on making sure this prophecy was fulfilled. Yet, it can not ever be fulfilled now.

Israel did not rise, the USA did, we supplied the weapons, and it was our interventions that tipped the scales. Israel is now an extension of the USA, for without our supply of weapons, they would all be slaughtered now. They angered too many surrounding countries with this war to survive without us.

So congratulations chriatians, you made the only prophecy that could have been fulfilled in your book impossible to fulfill. You destroyed your last claim to magic, your one possible grain of truth. In short, your bible is now as tactual as Clash of the Titans.

Humans Are Animals

So I am working on blogging more about my adopted cat, Pepper, right now, and I still keep seeing people deny that humans are animals. I find this troubling, not because they deny this very basic and well known fact, but their reasons.

Every time someone denies that humans are animals it's either "god dunnit" or "aliens dunnit." The problem is that neither of these would change this very basic fact even if true. Humans are animals by definition, life is broken up into kingdoms for scientific categorizing and we are categorized as animals because of our physiological traits.

Now for the psychoanalysis of this cognitive dissonance. The primary reason people want to deny that we're animals is not because they want to feel superior, but because they want to reason away their guilt. This means that they have, at some point in their life, needlessly harmed another animal.

This notion is more frightening for us who do not harm without a valid justification, because since we are animals, those same people are just as capable of harming another human. It does not take much to see that we are animals, and the denial is only a thin barrier, so once that barrier is pierced they become a danger to others of their own species if they do not feel guilt after realizing they were wrong.

For us friends of nonhuman animals, it's also worrisome in many other ways. These particular humans can use their "we aren't animals" excuse to hurt our best friends and the other animals we cherish, and many do. To make it clear, I am not against harming when there is a need, so long as it is as humanely as possible, I am speaking about all needless harm and torture of other animals.

One day our technology will advance enough that we will need to harm not other organisms, even plants, to survive. The problem is that most of the harm we do is unnecessary for our survival, and many times this harm endangers the entire species. To make matters worse, many of the people who do these things are proud of it.

Let's look at trophy hunting, the horrible act of cowardly shooting an animal that is trapped, from a distance. There is no courage in these people, no skill, no strength of any kind. They are cowards, weaklings, and generally useless even for humans. Being a boxer takes courage, even staged wrestling takes courage, but to fire a gun at an unarmed animal from hundreds of yards away does not take courage.

Karate takes skill, fencing takes skill, soccer takes skill, but using a high powered rifle with long range scope to fire at an imprisoned animal does not take any skill. This is actually a sign of how little skill you have, the scope does all the work now. Video gamers have way more skill than that, and most have never killed a fly ... too busy to swat one.

An iPhone user carrying an iPad and wearing an iWatch is wealthy. Someone driving a new, completely electric, fine tuned sports car is wealthy. Someone who climbs Mount Everest every summer is wealthy. But a trophy hunt is not a sign of wealthy, it's a sign of arrogance compared to the others.

Bill Gates donates large amounts of his money to charity, we know he's wealthy and we praise him for his deeds. Try doing something good with your money if you can't at least be trendy with it, instead of showing us how much of a coward you are.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Testing New App

So the Blogger app has always been really dodgy. This post is to merely test the updates made during the last month, if it works I will move Pepper's blog to Blogger by reposting the Tumblr posts first.

So far there are no major problems, however the biggest ones show up when scrolling. I am hoping this actually is an improvement. So, the topic at hand is also leading into a very important and often forgotten aspect to app development. Since the advent of online stores and the ability to constantly update as you go, many coders have gotten very sloppy and forgotten that a good app needs to work "out of the box."

This does not mean all features need be included, but that the apps need to be stable and useful for as many people as possible, to allow your target audience a chance to see if they actually enjoy using it. It is also important to ensure the users that the app has a future in their lives, because most people are not as patient as I am and will simply move onto others, never to return.

For Android, and possibly for Apple as well, using native widgets is important. It creates a standard that ensures your app will not interfere with, or be interfered with by, other apps it needs to function well. This allows for custom widgets and interfaces to function properly as well, the widgets for Android are easy to customize without building your own GUI.

Well, I have reached the old limit of functionality for this app in the past, and all seems well. More features would be nice, but as you can see from my many posts, I don't use many formatting options in my posts as they are intended to be more informative than entertaining. So I will return, and begin posting more, as well as building a Pepper blog to tell her story of a furever home.

EDIT: Well, the app didn't work too well, had to edit it in the browser anyway.